6 Business Skills They Didn’t Teach You in College
The business world is another world entirely from college. Those who are smart, resilient, innovative and adaptive to changes have the potential to make it out there.
You will learn the fundamentals of business in college, but that is not enough for you to grow a business.
Although college can teach you accounting, economics, marketing, and management, there is more to entrepreneurship than this.
When you get into the business world, you will understand that college never told you business is full of competition and that most startups fail in their first year.
Don’t let these put you off, though, because many of those businesses lack the right skills to build and run a successful business.
So, you want your business to be the best among the rest? You want to be the top-rated CEO and probably get featured by Forbes?
Then you have to equip yourself with these additional business skills that will give you that extra boost in your business.
BUSINESS SKILLS YOU DON’T LEARN IN BUSINESS SCHOOL
Business school is where you go to learn about everything concerning businesses.
There, you learn the basics of business, from developing an idea to establishing and growing the business.
But, you cannot depend on only what you learned in school because some things are better learned through yours or other people’s experiences.
1. Setting Clear Goals and Visions for Your Business
You may learn everything about running a business in business school, but without a clear vision for yourself and your business, you won’t have a business to run in a matter of time.
No one can teach you how to have a vision; it is something you develop on your own. All you learn in school is how to manage that vision and turn it into a successful business.
Now, a vision is different from a dream because it is well-thought-out and feasible, unlike dreams.
You can have ideas, but until you put your plans to paper and make serious long and short term plans, you don’t have a vision. Your vision should contain not only your goals and objectives but also how you plan to achieve them.
When planning for your business, you need to ask yourself some questions. Like, where do you see your business in the 10 years or longer?
What goals do you want to achieve in your business in 2, 5, and 10 years? What are the plans you will use to achieve those goals in the time given?
Questions like these put your plan in perspective and help you picture what you should do at every point to grow your business and achieve those goals.
Strategic planning is also crucial when it comes to business. You have to plan your mode of operations, finance, product management, and others. Without it, your company can survive for long.
Strategic Planning helps you to define your business goals and mission. The people and your capital play a significant role in your strategic planning.
So, you have to make plans following these two factors. This will give you and your employees a clear idea of your goals
Here is a list that guides you on the strategic planning process.
- Begin with a Vision Statement: You should write a vision statement that gives potential clients an insight into your plan for your business.
- Write a Mission Statement: Your mission statement should highlight your aspirations and how you hope to achieve them.
- Write down Your Goals: Write down the goals for your business. Whatever your goal is, make sure it is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.
- Monitor Your Progress: You should make it a habit to monitor your goals at least every month to know if you are on the right track or if there are any adjustments to be made.
2. Handling Pressure and Stress
The workplace is a jumble of pressure, stress, and nerves, whether you’re an employer or employee. No one prepares you for the stress you will pass through as a member of a team or as an employee.
How you react to that pressure is dependent on you. You don’t learn those skills in business school, so it is up to you to develop those skills.
The best way to react to pressure is to remain calm. Nothing gets resolved if everyone is losing their minds at the same time.
Always try to keep a level head at all times and respond only when you’ve observed the situation enough to be objective.
If you react negatively, it might escalate the situation, and you’ll end up with even more stress than before.
Most businesses need people who can work under pressure, so this is definitely a skill you need to learn.
Failure is one cause of pressure and stress, and a lot of employees don’t know how to handle it. But, failure is inevitable in business, so you should be prepared against it at all times.
The best attitude to have is to see failure, whether minor or major as a lesson in what not to do.
That way, you can learn lessons in your failure and even in that of others.
3. Instincts and Intuition
Everybody has instincts and intuition, and they are right a lot of times. Following their gut feelings has led many people in business to hugely successful and rewarding investment and decisions.
On the other hand, many people have followed their instincts to their collapse. Knowing when to follow your instincts and when not to, is a skill that cannot be taught in any school.
Also, you have to be a perfect judge of character.
There is so much that a well-written CV can hide, so you have to be a capable judge of people’s character by asking some well-placed questions that can tell you about their personality and observing them.
You can also judge them from their jobs, academics, and general behavior, but that is not always accurate. Everyone has intuition, but not everyone can use it wisely. You can only sharpen it by using it frequently
Integrity is not so much a skill as the others on this list, but it is an important quality to have that you cannot learn in school.
When you have integrity, you commit yourself to your values and principles and you stand your ground regardless of whatever may come up.
Integrity is synonymous with empathy and honesty, and those are traits that make you a valuable business owner and employee.
Negotiation is a self-taught skill that you have to develop yourself if you want to be successful in business. Business is driven by value, so you have to give value to get profit.
Many people try to negotiate from a place of weakness, and that makes them unsuccessful because you have to make the other party believe that they’re getting a good deal also.
You can offer them better services than they were getting, or a rare and useful skill that they won’t find easily.
After all, employers pay you for what you bring to them and their business. The same principle applies to entrepreneurs and employers.
You need to be persuasive, plan, and strategize on how the deal will work best in your favor. Negotiation is different from haggling, so you need to place yourself in a position of power and make them believe they’re getting the better part of any deal.
Some Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills:
- Identify your main aim: What is your purpose in starting the negotiation? What do you want out of the agreement? These questions should be the basis of your negotiation. It is vital to identify all of these things and prepare yourself for the best and worst scenarios.
- Maintain a good rapport: Maintaining a good rapport is essential to reaching an agreement. Try to understand the need of the other party so that you won’t appear to be selfish.
- Set a time frame: The negotiations will be taken more seriously if both parties are restricted by time. If an agreement is not made before the time, both parties can meet at a later date.
- Give Multiple Offers: You will save time in the negotiating process when you give multiple offers. The other party will likely choose the one that benefits them the most. You can always ask for feedback if the party declines both.
6. Human Interaction (Reading People) Networking
Social interaction is something that you cannot avoid while working in the business world, and it is a tricky skill to have. People are different, so you can’t approach everybody with the same tactic.
Learn to observe people first before approaching or responding to them.
You also need to learn how to read people to know what they want from you and how they can be of value to you too. People skills make networking a lot easier and make you get faster results.
When it comes to the business world, your ability to communicate effectively to your prospective investors play a significant role in determining if they have the trust in you to invest or not.
From trying to sell your product to a customer to hiring the best talent, excellent communication skills will help you to grow your business.
WHAT THEY DON’T TELL YOU ABOUT ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Running a business is a great idea that can change your life for the better if you do it right.
But, many times, people take that step without knowing the things that can be involved in running a business.
Entrepreneurship is not always as exciting it is portrayed and it gets even harder as your business grows. But, there are also many good aspects of starting a business venture.
1. Career Independence
This is what draws many people into quitting their 9-5 job and branching out on their own. The idea of setting your hours seems great and inviting, especially if you work in a stressful industry.
This sounds great at first, but when you consider the lack of job security, benefits, and a definite paycheck, it starts becoming less appealing.
The first year of business is especially hard because you have to work hard to establish your business and build wealth, and that takes a lot of time.
Entrepreneurs end up working longer hours than employees most times, especially in the early years of starting.
But, if you’re lucky enough to cross those initial hurdles, your hard work will pay off, and you may even decide to retire early and spend more time relaxing.
No matter how profitable a business venture is, it takes a while to get your profits back.
Businesses cost money to establish, and you can decide to fund it yourself, or get investors.
Also, remember the possibility of failure or low returns, so make sure you have a backup plan.
3. Financial Independence
There are many ways for you to build wealth, and one of them is being an entrepreneur.
Although it takes time, the key to success is consistency. Financial independence is essential, and many people prefer to build their wealth through entrepreneurship than through paid work.
Many of the wealthiest people in the world started as entrepreneurs, and they remained consistent
4. Personal Legacy
People are inherently selfish, and many would rather have their legacy rather than build someone else’s.
That attitude is right and it has produced a lot of successful and impactful visionaries in the world.
However, before going out to create impact, make sure you have a vision that you believe in and the right tools to actualize your dream.
As an entrepreneur, you call the shots and make the decisions. While that is good, you need to find an experienced mentor that can help direct you on the right path. Many entrepreneurs have tried to do it on their own and it didn’t work out.
Don’t see yourself as a monolith; find a mentor that knows what to do and learn from them.
You can have more than one mentor, and you don’t have to meet a mentor to get guidance. You can read their books, watch their videos, and listen to them speak.
OTHER ESSENTIAL BUSINESS SKILLS FOR ENTREPRENEURS
As an entrepreneur, you need to learn from experience, but you need these elementary skills to build your business successfully.
Business skills as an employee and an entrepreneur vary in several areas, so you need to add the following to your repertoire:
1. Leadership Skills
Leadership is a must-have for entrepreneurs. It takes a lot to control the business and employees. You should be able to motivate and manage your subordinates to do better.
Effective leadership involves many things: starting from the ability to communicate with your employees, respect to the employees, push them into taking more risks, listening to feedback, and the ability to solve problems in challenging situations.
These are qualities a good leader should have when running a business.
2. Sales and Marketing Skills
Sales and marketing are the fundamental skills you need as an entrepreneur. Your business depends on you being able to sell your goods or services. Without marketing, you won’t be able to reach your target market successfully.
You can get a great sales and marketing team to help you expand, but you need to have basic knowledge of sales and marketing at the very least.
3. Financial Management
Lack of Financial management can ruin businesses, and it has been the cause of many business failures. Proper financial management is essential to maximize profits and results.
You should know how to create a budget for your business, how to evaluate investment risks and keep a balance between income and expenditures.
Also, you should know how to read financial statements and reports to be able to identify any loopholes in your books.
Financial management also determines how you spend and appropriate your funds. It is very easy to lose money when you don’t know where you’re putting it.
Even if you can afford a financial team, make sure you know finances to avoid being robbed or duped.
4. Consistency and Patience
After gathering knowledge from business schools and applying these self-taught skills, you need to learn patience and consistency. You cannot build a legacy in a day, so you need to be patient and wait for your hard work to yield results.
If you rush into decisions, you’re more likely to make bad decisions that can damage your business. Also, you need to be consistent in everything you’re doing.
This helps you build a good reputation, which is very important in any endeavor you may want to take as a business owner.
Business schools have churned out thousands of competent and smart students over the years.
The schools teach you the mechanics of doing business and how to implement them into your ventures.
But, they can never show you everything you need; instead, you have to go into the world and learn from experience.
A lot of the business skills listed in this article are skills that come from personal experiences, both yours and those of others before you.
They are essential to the growth of your business as an entrepreneur or an employee.
With the right skills and correct applications, your business has a better chance of surviving in the long run.
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